Jazmine Harnishfeger-Brand

Dear Ensemble singers,

Happy sunny Sunday! Hope you are having a a day of “safety and bliss” 🙂
First of all, thank you for the great leap forward in your musical preparation and singing engagement!
I missed the Feb. 1st rehearsal and was thrilled to see and hear the progress you made. Well done!
As Jazmine was very busy last week with the production of Cantabile’s Annual Gala, I am sending you a brief version of the blog.
And with that – -for your practicing pleasure –there are sound files attached to this email:
1. Accompaniment for Earth Songs #3 We Join with the Earth
2. Recordings of me singing the parts and playing accompaniment for In Safety and Bliss
Please, use them to practice at home. The accompaniment has metronome ticking and at times I count along to help you with entrances.
Here’s the blog — have fun reading and practicing!
With love,

Key ideas and Action Items from the last rehearsal:

  1. Deep practice: Great learning happens when you are engaged fully in whatever it is you are doing (singing, reading, playing sports, doing homework.)

    We must be present emotionally, mentally, physically, wholeheartedly. There is simply no other way. With deep practice, we don’t l just learn faster and more thoroughly, we also enjoy the process and the result, to feel energetic and uplifted at the end of the practice.
    Of course, it is key to know the craft of practicing, its techniques — like “chunking” (i prefer Divide et Impera), and Synthesis —Analysis—Synthesis.
    These techniques we practice every Wednesday and if you are paying attention, you know them by now 🙂 2. Respect of the music, your peers, and your teachers:

  2. Respect and commitment go hand-in-hand: We have a few rules in Ensemble rehearsals; they are simple and easy to follow. I would like to see that we have a 100% of these rules respected at every weekly rehearsal:

    + Be 5 min early to class

    + Bring folder, mat, water bottle, pencil

    + Compete and turn in your practice log and musicianship assignment

    News alert! Special recognition of students who turn their practice logs at every rehearsal starting Feb. 15th!
Action Items and expectations for next Rehearsal, February 15th:
  1. You got a new song — Shine on me! and it is super fun…
    If you were at the last rehearsal, you know it already! Practice it with your score to make sure you are singing the harmonies on the page, not your own —
    it’s very easy to get carried away and sing your own version 🙂
    2. The Wind that was quite a bit under-practiced last week. I expect it is learned solid for next rehearsal. Thank you very much in advance!
    Just a quick reminder: This is YOUR piece. No other choir will be singing with you — so it will be a moment of truth at the concert, non?
    The sooner we have the technical “stuff”down, the more time we will have to work on the beautiful tone, meaning and on the unique interpretation we, Ensemble choir, can give to this very new composition (premiered less than a year ago.)
    3. Practice choreo for Kusimama if you mean to perform it at the concert, you have to learn the dance. No exceptions.
    4. Review Turn the World Around (see notes on the piece below)
    As a reminder, you should be at the following levels of preparedness for each song, meaning “right notes, right rhythms and right words”:
    1. Shine on Me: 80%
    2. In Safety and Bliss: 100%
    3. We Join With the Earth: 100% up to m.126, 80% from 126 to the end
    4. The Wind: 100%
    5. Kusimama: 100%
    6. Turn The World Around: 75% up to m. 41 and m.73-end
      g. The Earth is Full of Poetry: 100% 5. Practice the most recent yoga flow no less than 3 times before next rehearsal
      6. Record what pieces and how long you practiced into practice log; hand in practice log to Hannah as you sign in.
      7. Practice breathing meditation every day for at least 5 min.
Notes on each song:
The Wind, Rich Campbell
You will be singing this song on your own at the All Choir Concert this Spring.
  • You made excellent progress with this last week: 90% of the notes and rhythms were there, they simply lacked confidence and courage (see above).  Practice your music enough so that you can walk into rehearsal next week and deliver your part with 100% confidence the first time through.
  • In general you tend to get “lost” pitch wise at the ends of phrases when the notes jump to unexpected places.  For example: Sop m.70 F# to C#, m.75 D to G etc.  Practice going back and forth between just those two pitches until they are solid, then add in one note before and one note after.
  • Everyone needs to review from m.104 to the end for note accuracy.
  • Start adding in attitude, word stress, accents etc. – all the things that will make this piece come alive!  (See No. 2 in “Key Concepts” above.)  This is where you need to be ready to start next week in rehearsal.
Turn the World Around, Harry Belafonte and Robert Freedman, Arr. Larry Farrow
You will be singing this with Vocalise at the All Choir Concert this Spring.
  • Continue learning your part from the beginning to m.41.  In addition, start learning your part from m.73 to m.85
    • Sopranos: don’t worry about the high Bb at the end – we will address that next week.
  • Keep a steady beat somewhere on your body (feet, leg, chest etc.) to help with your syncopated rhythms.
  • Also!  There is an important divisi to note.  M.13-16 Alto 1s sing the tenor line. (Alto 2s continue singing the alto line.)
  • Please do not work on any other sections of this piece as there are important divisi to be assigned which we do in class.
  • As a reminder, this song is an African folk song from Guinea about the origins of mankind, and how the elements (fire, water, mountains, earth) are what we are all made of.  The composer reminds us that we are only here for a short time, and that it’s important for us to truly know and understand each other, as we are not very different from each other.  And that from that love and understanding, we can turn the world around.
    • Extra bonus points if you can tell us on which TV show this song was performed!  (Write it on your practice log.)
Earth Songs – The World is Full of Poetry, David Brunner
You will be singing this with Vocalise at the All Choir Concert this Spring.
  • Keep learning your parts for this movement, making sure that you are singing exactly the right notes in places such as m.35 and m.57
  • Please review m.55 to the end for correct notes.
  • This week in your practicing start adding in word stress, tone color etc.  (See No. 2 in “Ideas and Concepts”)
  • You can listen to a great recording of the 1st movement (“The World is Full of Poetry”) by the Spivey Hall Children’s Choir, on their album called Homeland on Spotify.  (The track is titled “The World is Full of Poetry from Earthsongs (David L. Brunner)”.)
Earth Songs – In Safety and Bliss, David Brunner
  • Good to job to those of you who could recite the poem this week!  Next week we’ll hear from a few more of you…
  • M.88-end mark which beat you come in on, and which beats your cut off on with your “blissful hearts”.
  • Isolate your leaps and practice them over and over, making them as smooth and legato as possible.  Right now they sound quite awkward and out of tune. (Ex: m.84 E to C#, m.85 E to D# etc.)
  • Just like with Turn the World Around, keep a steady beat (ideally with an eighth note subdivision) somewhere in your body.  This will help with keeping your place for your entrances and cut offs.
  • As mentioned above, start working on internalizing the text when you practice this week by reading the lyrics as poem.  See where the natural word stress falls.  Remember our rule with repeated text: every repetition has to have new musical or poetic meaning.  Start thinking about how each repetition of “blissful heart” is going to mean something different.
February 9, 2017

Rehearsal #6/February 7, 2017

Dear Ensemble singers, Happy sunny Sunday! Hope you are having a a day of “safety and bliss” 🙂 First of all, thank you for the great leap forward in your musical preparation and singing engagement! I missed the Feb. 1st rehearsal and was thrilled to see and hear the progress you made. Well done! As Jazmine was very busy last […]
February 4, 2017

Rehearsal #4/February 1st, 2017

Dear Ensemble, Thank you for your presence, your courage, and your cooperation on Wednesday night.  You are making progress both individually, and as a group, and it was wonderful to see the work that so many of you have put into your music.  Our hope moving forward is that we can continue to build upon the work that you do […]
January 28, 2017

Rehearsal #3/January 20, 2017

Dear Ensemble, Thank you for the focus, attention, and care that you poured into Wednesday night’s rehearsal.  It is one of or favorite days of the week because of who each of you are – passionate, hardworking, brilliant young people who love music as much as we do.  We’re looking forward to deepening in that love of music together, but […]
January 21, 2017

Rehearsal #3/January 20, 2017

Dear Ensemble, We had a another wonderful night together learning new music and new choreography.  I truly want you to know how much it means to us that you’re willing to give 100% of your focus and energy to your rehearsal.  Those are the trademarks of professional musicians (and wonderful human beings!) 🙂  Please see below for your action items […]
January 14, 2017

Rehearsal #2/January 11, 2017

Dear Ensemble, Thank you for a great night of focused, meaningful rehearsal.  It was great to see the work that so many of you have already invested in your music, and we’re both excited to see just how far you can take yourselves – and your team – this semester! Key ideas and Concepts addressed this week: If you want […]
January 6, 2017

Rehearsal #1/January 4, 2017

Dear Ensemble, Welcome back!  It was wonderful to see each of you on Wednesday, and to spend quality time together making music.  As we discussed in rehearsal, the All Choir Concert this Spring is centered around our relationship with the Earth, nature, and our connection with our planet.  If you think of any good titles for the concert, please email […]
November 5, 2016

Rehearsal #11/November 2, 2016

Dear Ensemble, It was wonderful to have everyone back together again this week.  Your work at home is continuing to show in your readiness at rehearsal, and even though there is still more work to do, you should be proud of what you’ve been able to accomplish so far.  As a reminder, we now have three (3!) Wednesday practices left […]
November 5, 2016

Prep 2 Blog # 8 Week of October 31st

Greetings, Prep 2 Families! We had an action-packed week in Prep 2, with plenty of Halloween and holiday fun, interspersed with important musical concepts and recital preparation. Thank you for continuing to share this blog with your child each week, in order to practice and prepare at home. Recital Season is Coming! Please Purchase Concert Attire Here: Prep 2 Girls […]